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Friday, July 9, 1999

Dress code too tough for PHS principal

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez attended the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting Thursday in khaki pants that failed the dress code test.

The board adopted the high school, middle school and elementary school handbooks that include the revised dress code, which Rodriguez explained.

"Pants/jeans may not be baggy or saggy or exceed four inches of excess fabric at the thigh or at the principal's discretion," the code reads.

Asked if his pants conform to the code, Rodriguez stood and grasped the pleated-front khakis, pulling them taut around the thigh and measuring the excess.

"No, I guess they don't," he said.

Rodriguez said the code was revised to change the number from three inches of excess material to four inches.

"We had it at three inches, and the superintendent was out of code," Rodriguez said.

He said the baggy pants issue is one of safety.

The code as presented required that jackets and long coats be taken off and put in lockers upon arrival at school unless the principal allows them to be worn in extreme circumstances.

Trustee Brent Shaw said he thought the students were to be allowed to wear jackets while changing classes and hang them on the back of their chairs during class.

"If it is cold, they would raise their hand and ask to put the jacket on," he said.

Louis Matta said he has been told that classroom temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees, and even some teachers wear jackets.

Again, Rodriguez said the issue is one of safety. Students in other areas have hidden weapons underneath long jackets.

"They may be wearing shorts or something under those jackets that don't pass," said Shaw.

Tina Hendrick said that teachers are professional enough to allow students to put on their jackets if the room is cold.

President Earl Bates instructed Rodriguez to change the code, allowing teachers discretion on the matter of wearing jackets in class.

Shirts may be worn untucked as long as no part of the shirt extends past the bend of the wrist when arms are extended down the sides of the body. Shirts may not be worn if any of the student's midriff shows when the student's arms are raised above the head.

Fingernail and toenail polish may be worn, but colors that are prohibited include all shades of black, brown, blue, green, purple, yellow, orange or any other the administrator or teacher finds distracting to the education process.

A dress code check will take place at the beginning of each class, and students in violation will be sent to the principal's office.

Beau Jack Hendrick said that one change in the elementary code relates to tardiness, which is a big problem.

For three tardies, the parents will be called. In grades 3-5, students will be sent to D Hall for five tardies. In kindergarten through second grades, parents will be summoned to a conference after five tardies.

The only other major change is to allow someone other than a parent to pick up a child if the parents give written consent.

Endangered fish frustrate water hunt

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Write

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- Fish that would fit in a tablespoon continue to be a thorn in the side of West Texas residents thirsting for water.

Springs that have harbored endangered pupfish like the Pecos gambusia and Comanche Springs pupfish are drying up, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is fighting to keep the little critters alive.

That is one hurdle the Madera Valley Water Supply Corporation is trying to overcome in their effort to increase the supply of potable water to the Lindsay Addition, five miles southwest of Pecos.

After drilling a well in a new field near the Pecos/Reeves County line east of Balmorhea, Madera Valley notified USFWS of plans to lay a water line along the Pecos Valley Southern Railway right-of-way and county road rights-of-way in the Lindsay Addition.

No endangered species or wildlife habitats are found in the project site, and the construction will create no adverse impact, County Judge Jimmy Galindo wrote to USFWS on March 17.

Madera Valley president Herman Tarin said last week that USFWS requested an environmental study, and it is holding up the pipeline construction.

Nathan Allen, USFWS biologist, said that he read Tarin's statement on the Enterprise web site last week.

"It is news to me that Madera Valley is waiting on us," he said. "It is partly accurate that we did ask for more information."

Allen said that Madera Valley was doing an environmental assessment and were asking for USFWS input on endangered species.

"There are springs that are of concern," Allen said. "Diamond Y between Pecos and Fort Stockton and San Solomon...There are three different pupfish within 50 miles."

The Comanche Springs pupfish lives in San Solomon springs, he said.

"To us there is a bigger issue of water availability to everybody. People and fish depend on the same water source."

Allen said that this is the only place in the world that the little pupfish occur.

"It is a real unique part of God's creation. It is our job to keep them alive."

Phantom Lake Springs near Toyahvale has been declining for a long time, and now it is in dire straits, Allen said.

"It has almost zero flow. We don't know for sure that it has to do with groundwater pumping. The drought for years probably is a major factor," he said.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation built a refugium canal at Phantom Lake Spring several years ago to support abundant, healthy populations of these fishes.

A cienega (marsh) at Balmorhea State Park is a cooperative project that provides a habitat for the pupfish and a wide variety of native plants and animals.

Allen said that Madera Valley was asked to cooperate with the effort to preserve Phantom Lake springs and the endangered species.

"We met with the Jeff Davis underground Water District and the Reeves County Water Improvement District #1 on March 8 to exchange information on declining flows at Phantom Lake Spring," Allen said.

"We are in an emergency situation on that one."

While not accusing Madera Valley of depleting the aquifer, Allen said that the springs could dry up like the Comanche Springs at Fort Stockton did from excessive pumping of underground water.

Council OKs Freeport water site study

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- Pecos City Council on Thursday questioned the value of a water well field evaluation using existing sulphur mine records and opted instead for a hydrological study that would include field testing.

"We know there's water out there," said Councilman Johnny Terrazas. "Isn't it more important that they do a field study and tell us what's there?"

ARCADIS Geraghty & Miller estimated their cost at $19,500 to obtain, compile and report on recorded information on the well field used by the Culberson Sulphur mine since it opened in 1969.

City Attorney Scott Johnson said the council could negotiate with AG&M for a contract to do the study and to require field testing.

Councilman Ricky Herrera, who works at the mine 40 miles northwest of Pecos, said his biggest concern is whether the aquifer is recharging.

Mayor Dot Stafford said that the six-section well field is located on the Stocks ranch, and she had been told it has good water reserves.

McMoRan Exploration, which closed the mine last week, has priced the well field at $4 million. Stafford said she has been unable to negotiate a better price for the city.

"I asked (manager Phil Tyree) about a tax write-off, but he just laughed," she said. "They wanted the cash."

Herrera said that five wells were drilled on the property, and two are pumping.

"The records will show what they have pumped out of it," he said.

Councilman Gerald Tellez Jr. said that the company has water rights to another six sections.

Pecos has been looking for a new water source for the past five years. The city's Worsham and Ward County water fields are expected to provide adequate supplies for only through the year 2008.

City Manager Kenneth Neal said that an application for a $8 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board to develop the South Worsham water field. Some of that money could be used on the Duval well field study, he said.

Utilities director Octavio Garcia reported that West Texas Well Service has drilled the first pilot hole in that field to 260 feet and will test the water flow today.

The council also nominated Battery Conservation Technology Inc. as an enterprise project, making them eligible for tax abatement and other support.

Bob Curry, BCTI president, said the designation is the first step in what the new corporation is going to be doing.

"They will put over $1.5 million into the community this year," he said.

New construction is scheduled for completion by November.

"That will create several high-tech jobs," he said. "It will take some people with strong knowledge of computers. I am excited BCTI is moving to the next level and putting Pecos, Texas on the map along with cantaloupes..." he said.

Randy Graham said the enterprise designation would give BCTI tax advantages. They will not be required to pay sales tax on new equipment and no franchise tax on the business, and they will be eligible for grants through the Texas Workforce Commission's "Smart Jobs" program.

BCTI expects to hire 25 employees for one shift in the automated battery recycling center. A second shift may be needed in the future.

Pecos Economic Development Corp. executive director Gari Ward said the company is capital intensive, rather than labor intensive.

RCH board considers ER renovations

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- Renovating the emergency room was the main topic of discussion for the Reeves County Hospital Board during their regular meeting, held Thursday at noon.

"We're in the early stages of possibly renovating our emergency room," said hospital director Charles Butts.

Dr. David R. Jordan, PhD., the CEO-administrator for Nor-Lea General Hospital in Lovington, N.M., gave a presentation and showed a video on the recent renovations done at that hospital.

The hospital in Lovington serves about 14,000, according to Jordan.

"He's here to show us what they did over at their hospital and give us some insight into new ideas," said Butts.

Jordan told the group that the renovations in Lovington had been completed last October, but that they had been working on it for two years.

"Since we've opened up the renovated part, we've seen many patients," he said.

"He did this type of renovations at their hospital and attached it to

Jordan told the group that they haven't had any trouble with the new building and are very happy with it.

"It was very well done," said Butts.

"Well, it was a group project," said Jordan.

In other business, Butts told the board about a mini health fair scheduled for Saturday, July 17 at the hospital.

"This will be for migrant workers and we will just be co-sponsors," he said. "We don't know how many people will be coming in, but we'll have volunteers to help out."

This will be at no cost to the hospital, and Butts said the Pecos Housing Authority, along with the Texas Department of Health, will also help.

"They will be doing all the registering and counseling," he said.

During the meeting, board members also agreed to appoint Lydia Prieto to calculate the 1999 tax rate. "She has done it in the past and we just want her to continue doing it," said Butts.
 
 

School board approves employee pay hikes

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- After having their salaries frozen last year, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD employees will benefit next year from increases totaling $1 million.

School board members on Thursday approved salaries of $10.99 million for the 1999-2000 school year.

Every teacher will receive a $3,000 increase, to be funded by the state. Step raises and other increases are to be paid out of local tax revenue, said Supt. Don Love.

Tax revenue will increase because of a $4 million increase in real estate valuation, Love said. Mineral valuation dropped, leaving the school district with a net increase of about $1.5 million.

Love said the salary increase for everyone except teachers is based on a proposal by the Texas Association of School Boards, who made a survey of surrounding school districts and compared them to P-B-T.

In almost all categories, P-B-T was at the low end of the average hourly wage chart for 1998-99, while Fort Stockton was at the top.

Examples are secretaries, who were paid $7.52 per hour in Pecos, and $12.15 per hour in Fort Stockton.

Nurses received $19.01 per hour in Monahans and $11.91 in Pecos.

Crane paid its business manager $60,637, while Pecos paid $46,575.

The new step schedule for 1999-2000 provides for minimum salaries of $24,240 with no years of experience and $40,800 for 20 years experience and over.

Administrative salaries approved include: Supt. Don Love, $79,654; assistant supt. Gome Olibas, $66,346; business manager Cookie Canon, $55,756; career/technology director Larry Sloan, $54,315; Lawrence Williams, athletic director, $53,100; band director William Goff, $49,055 and technology director Jodi Exum, $48,105.

Principal salaries range from $62,846 for PHS principal Danny Rodriguez to $46,665 for Victor Tarin, who is taking over Lamar Middle School this fall. Benny Hernandez will go to PHS as assistant principal at $42,000.

New teachers in the fall will be Lillian Creasy, Austin Elementary special education; Myra Hernandez, Bessie Haynes Elementary special education; Roy Hill, Bessie Haynes special education; Jeanne Holt, Lamar Middle School sixth grade teacher; Rebecca Johnson, Pecos Elementary third grade teacher; Michael Ortiz, Lamar special education/coach;

Tonya Shuler, Pecos Elementary third grade; Beverly Thomas, Bessie Haynes Elementary fifth grade; Irma Trevino, Bessie Haynes fifth grade; Lawrence Williams Jr., Lamar physical education teacher/coach.

The board accepted the following resignations:

Jim Adams, counselor; Jackeline Domingues, business; Juan Dominguez, Spanish; Alonzo Garcia, bilingual; Frances Marlene Glenn, reading improvement; Robert Hernandez, Lamar principal; Stephen Johnson, special education;

Marcia McCormick, fourth grade; Patricia Peacock, special education; Thomas Torres, band director; Tina Tresselt, phys ed/coach; and Melanie Turner, special ed.

Reassigned were:

Barbara Armstrong, to Crockett Middle School reading teacher; Evangelina Arriola to Crockett/Zavala counselor; John Barrett to special ed; Albert Carrasco, Bessie Haynes phys ed/coach; Ruben Cervantes, Pecos Elementary/Lamar counselor;

Angela Elliott to PHS business; Lacey Exum to Crockett special ed; Lisa Fernandes to Austin Elementary second grade; Gail Norris to Pecos Elementary principal; Delia Olibas to kindergarten; Michelle Workman to PHS counselor.

Joe Flores' contract was changed to dual assignment one-year probationary.

Couple's accounts seized by police after drug bust

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- Pecos Police narcotics investigator Paul Deishler has seized $32,052 in currency believed to be derived from the sale of narcotics.

District Attorney Randy Reynolds filed notice of seizure and intent to forfeit in 143rd District Court.

Deishler said that the bank accounts of Evigael and Virginia Navarette were seized June 9 by officer Olga Lopez upon serving a warrant signed by County court-at-law judge Lee Green.

Seized from First National was two accounts; one with $10,022.67 and one with $21,469.19.

At Security State Bank, Lopez seized $661.38.

Evigael Navarette was arrested June 7 on a warrant for probation violation. Upon inventorying his car, officers found two packets of cocaine packaged for distribution and charged Navarette with possession of cocaine.

A subsequent search of the Navarette home turned up contraband, weapons and ammunition, police said.

Meek honored by Rotary

By SMOKEY BRIGGS
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- Ben Meek was honored Thursday night during the Pecos Rotary Club's annual installation of new officers banquet.

Meek was selected by the board of directors of the organization as the recipient of this year's Paul Harris Fellowship award.

"For the first time in my life I'm speechless," Meek said when the award was announced.

"The Paul Harris Fellowship is an international organization that provides funds for humanitarian projects around the world," past president Michael Wyles said.

He added that the Paul Harris Fellowship is a separate organization from Rotary International and participation in the Fellowship by individual Rotary clubs is voluntary.

"We donate $1,000 each year for a past president or our club to become a Paul Harris Fellow. We consider it an honor especially since the fellowship is named after Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary," Wyles said.

Meek joined the Pecos Rotary Club in 1963 and served as president during the 1985-1986 term, according to Wyles.

Ken Winkles was also honored during the program as Rotarian of the Year.

"Without Ken's hand work and dedication to Rotary my term as president could not have been as enjoyable, and this year would not have been the success it was," Wyles said.

During the ceremony Wyles also turned over his ceremonial gavel to Jean Badder. With the transfer, Badder officially became president of the club for the 1999-2000 fiscal year.

Driver's license office hours cut next two weeks


The Department of Public Safety License office will be closed on July 15 and July 16.

The office will be open from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., only on July 20 and July 22.

Normal hours will resume on July 26.

Hours the office are open are from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., with it closed for lunch from noon until 1 p.m.

ROOF ON THE WAY


Engineer Frank Spencer told the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board of trustees Thursday that American Contracting U.S.A. Inc. can repair the library roof under a change order to a contract to repair the roof on Building A. The board approved the estimate of $28,593 to remove or repair decking, install new fiberglass base sheet, hot mop and install flashing, condensation lines to air conditioning units and pipe supports. Supt. Don Love said the leaking roof threatens to damage the district's computer controls.

TRIP HOME DELAYED

Pecos Senior League baserunner Alex Garcia made it to third base off a Richard Rodriguez single, during the third inning of Thursday's tournament game against San Angelo Lake View/Tri-County. Garcia was held up at third by coach Danny Reyes but later scored the first of Pecos' four runs in the inning, as the Senior Leaguers went on to post an 11-4 victory.
See Story on Sports Page
 

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night:

Winning numbers drawn: 8-13-14-15-24. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $43,001. Winning tickets sold in: Houston (2). Matching four of five: 254. Prize: $508.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order:

4-0-6 (four, zero, six)

Weather

PECOS, July 9, 1999 -- High Thursday 100; low last night 72. Tonight, increasing clouds with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Locally heavy rain possible. Low 65-70. Southeast wind 5-15 mph, becoming northeast 10-20 mph after midnight. Saturday, mostly cloudy and cooler with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Locally heavy rain possible. High in the mid 80s. Northeast wind 10-20 mph.



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